Saturday, September 20, 2008

Malaysia Boleh Tidak Apa

Recently I had my regular health checkup at a private clinic in Kuala Lumpur. The doctor was professional and attentive, not to mention computer savvy. She helped me through a rough patch while I undergone health problems in Afghanistan. She made my life easier by communicating with me through emails and sending me scanned copies of my health reports and medical leave certificate.

Needless to say, my husband was well impressed with the service provided by this doctor and her nurses during my recent check-up. Although the consultation and treatment costs are much higher than public clinics, the services and attention received are worth every extra ringgit spent. My French hubby told me, “When you look at the professionalism of the doctor and the services provided, you don’t feel that this is a developing country.”

Sadly, it isn’t often the case for many other services here. It took my husband less than six months to decide that he does not want to participate in the My Second Home programme and I don’t blame him. While he was trying to settle here, he encountered countless difficulties and unfriendly faces; the immigration department, telecommunication company, construction workers, home renovation companies, etc. He concluded that the quality of the services is unsatisfactory and many people appear to be indifferent and rude.

Hence, I’m really not sure whether the satiric first class facility, third class mentality often attached to Malaysia is quite true. We have perhaps embellished the standard of our facilities and services. Let me give you an example.

Recently, I went to a TM Point branch to apply for temporary suspension of some of the services I subscribed to. I was going away for a few months and decided to take up the government’s call for us to become smarter consumers. I also thought I should start to become a thriftier wife after listening to a radio message claiming that wives spend too much. So, this was the big opportunity to prove myself by saving the cost of paying something which I would not be using for the next few months.

A staff told me that I could not suspend my Streamyx service. When I asked why not, he said it has been decided by the management, without giving me any further explanation. He then told me, I have only two choices; I either keep the service by paying RM99 every month or I terminate the service completely, which would then cost me RM163 for the reactivation and reinstallation fee.

I gave him a spontaneous incredulous laugh. In many other developed countries, suspension service is part of the facilities provided to customers because at the end of the day, it is a win-win situation. The customer stays happy and the service provider gains the loyalty and satisfaction of the customers.

In my moments of frustration and anger, I decided to terminate the service. I was then told that I could not appoint a date of termination and the service will be terminated with immediate effect. I asked him why since I was only leaving in two weeks’ time and would need the service until then.

The answer he gave was something I wasn’t prepared for, “What if I lose your application form?” My jaw dropped and I asked him why would he lose my form? He answered, “We don’t keep a filing system here.” From that, it strikes me that I have wasted my time with a public service company which makes no effort whatsoever to provide service.

The indifference of the staff is unbelievable and how is it possible for me to trust a service provider that smugly admits to the act of negligence? Is this first class facility?

I often wonder how much of censorship is being practiced in the media. We often read happy stories about how pleased the foreigners are with our hospitality although The Reader’s Digest poll would have told you otherwise.

At the end of the day, the tidak apa attitude is going to send many people home despite the enticing Malaysia Truly Asia advertisement running on the TV channels ten times a day.

Wrtitten on 29 November 2006

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